A wise writer once said that grief is the primary impetus for writing. It is certainly what forced me to sit down and bring the stories out of my head onto the page back when I started writing in 2002.
Through writing out the pain of my losses I began to heal.
By reimagining the circumstances and outcomes of my losses, I was able to glimpse another way of being.
By helping others to write out the pain of their hearts, my own heart began to mend.
We write to bear witness to our own pain, to leave a mark for those we love who didn’t have the time or inclination or the power to make their own. As writers we have the power to do all this.
We can free ourselves from the endless reruns of traumatic moments in our lives by recording them on the page. But even more than this, by applying the magic of the imagination to the unchangeable facts of our losses, we can transform those stories into meaning. We can create hope and joy where perhaps none existed.
Better yet, the power of the imagination is so strong that the brain, after a while, can no longer differentiate between memories and our imaginings so our gentler, kinder, more hopefully imaginings begin to temper the trauma of the truth.
I have always written to search out or create meaning from the losses in my life. And it has worked. I write my way into being. I write my way through emotions I can’t understand. By finding the right words, by giving my story structure and form, by giving my pain to imagined characters, I am able to leave behind my attachment to these stories of loss.
I am able to create beauty from what had previous only felt like ugliness.
So write! Write out your pain. Reimagine the stories you tell yourself and transform them. Create beauty from the darkness.
That is our power as writers.
“To see that your life is a story while you’re in the middle of living it may be a help to living it well.”
Ursula Le Guin, Gifts
If you need help getting started or are floundering in grief and need a helping hand, I’ve just released my new book A Guide Through Grief, which I hope will help you through.
If you’d like a hard copy here in Australia just CONTACT ME and I’ll send you one. Soon you’ll be able to purchase directly from my website.
“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the self-same well from which your laughter rises is oftentimes filled with tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy it can contain.”
Sending lots of love your way ,